Famous Authors from Singapore

List of the most popular authors from Singapore, listed alphabetically with photos when available. For centuries authors have been among the world's most important people, helping chronicle history and keep us entertained with one of the earliest forms of storytelling. Whether they're known for fiction, non-fiction, poetry or even technical writing, the famous Singaporean authors on this list have kept that tradition alive by writing renowned works that have been praised around the world. You can find useful information below about these notable Singaporean writers, such as when they were born and where their place of birth was.

Authors here include everything from Cyril Wong to David Leo.

This list answers the questions, "Which famous authors are from Singapore?" and "Who are the best Singaporean authors?"

For further information on these historic Singaporean authors, click on their names. If you're a bookworm then use this list of celebrated Singaporean authors to discover some new books that you will enjoy reading.
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  • Kuo Pao Kun was a playwright, theatre director, and arts activist in Singapore who wrote and directed both Mandarin and English plays. He founded three arts and drama centres in Singapore, conducted and organised a number of drama seminars and workshops, and mentored Singaporean and foreign directors and artists. Kuo is acknowledged by both locals and foreigners as the pioneer of Singapore theatre, and was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 1990 for his contributions to Singapore theatre. His plays are characterised for their dramatic and social commentary, use of simple metaphors and multiculturalism themes, and have been staged locally and internationally.
  • Haresh Sharma (born 1965) is a Singaporean playwright. To date, he has written more than 100 plays that have been staged all over the world, including Singapore, Melbourne, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cairo and London. Sharma has a BA from the National University of Singapore as well as an MA in Playwriting from the University of Birmingham, obtained in 1994 on a Shell-NAC Scholarship. He has also been awarded fellowships and grants by the British Council and the United States Information Service, and was conferred the Young Artist Award in 1997. His play, Still Building, was awarded a Merit Singapore Literature Prize in 1993 while Off Centre was selected by the Ministry of Education as a Literature text for 'N’ and 'O’ levels, and republished by The Necessary Stage in 2006. In 2014, Sharma was awarded the prestigious S.E.A. Write Award. In 2015, he was awarded the Cultural Medallion.In August 2007, a new volume of Interlogue: Studies in Singapore Literature, was published with a focus on the works of Haresh Sharma. Interlogue is a series published by Ethos Books and edited by A/P Kirpal Singh that aims to bring critical focus on the works of Singapore writers in English. Previous editions of the series included one each on fiction, poetry, drama and interviews with local writers, as well as one dedicated volume on Singapore playwright Robert Yeo. The publication, written by Prof David Birch and edited by A/P Kirpal Singh, was an extensive investigation into Sharma's development as a writer; the themes and issues he grapples with; as well as his vision and practice of theatre within and outside his work at The Necessary Stage. While Interlogue itself was not published by The Necessary Stage, the company assisted with the provision of archival material for Prof Birch's research. In 2010, The Necessary Stage published a new anthology of Haresh's plays entitled Trilogy, including the scripts and production notes of three award-winning works, Fundamentally Happy, Good People and Gemuk Girls. The script of Those Who Can't, Teach, which was restaged as part of the 2010 Singapore Arts Festival, was published by Epigram Books. In 2011, a collection of early short plays by Haresh Sharma entitled Shorts I was published by The Necessary Stage. In 2012, two collections of Sharma's scripts were published, one entitled Shorts 2, and the other entitled Plays for Schools. This was followed by the publication of a new collection of Sharma's plays on medical-related issues entitled Don't Forget to Remember Me in 2013, launched at the Singapore Writers Festival. In 2014, Sharma's play Best Of (staged four times to rave reviews in Singapore and Malaysia) and Eclipse (staged in both Singapore and Scotland) were published. Haresh Sharma also wrote the lyrics to Singapore's National Day Parade 2011's withdrawn "Fun Pack Song", which modified the lyrics of Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance' to widespread criticism.In 2015, Fundamentally Happy was selected by The Business Times as one of the "finest plays in 50 years" alongside productions by Goh Poh Seng, Michael Chiang and Alfian Sa'at and others.
  • Leslie Charteris
    Señor Saint, Knight Templar, Thieves' Picnic
    • Birthplace: Singapore
    • Birthdate: 05-12-1907
    • Nationality: United Kingdom, Singapore
    • Series Written: The Saint
    Leslie Charteris (born Leslie Charles Bowyer-Yin, 12 May 1907 – 15 April 1993), was a British-Chinese author of adventure fiction, as well as a screenwriter. He was best known for his many books chronicling the adventures of the charming antihero Simon Templar, alias "The Saint."
  • Newton N. Minow
    Inside the Presidential Debates, Presidential television, How vast the wasteland now?
    • Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
    • Birthdate: 01-17-1926
    • Nationality: United States of America, Singapore
    Newton Norman Minow (January 17, 1926 – May 6, 2023) was an American attorney who served as chair of the Federal Communications Commission. He is famous for his speech referring to television as a "vast wasteland". While still maintaining a law practice, Minow served as the Honorary Consul General of Singapore in Chicago, beginning in 2001. Minow was active in Democratic Party politics. He was an attorney in private practice concerning telecommunications law and was active in many nonprofit, civic, and educational institutions. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 by Barack Obama, whom he had known since the start of Obama's legal career.
  • Glen Goei (simplified Chinese: 魏铭耀; traditional Chinese: 魏銘耀; pinyin: Wèi Míng Yào; born 22 December 1962) is one of Singapore's leading film and theatre directors. His broad ranging body of work embraces the full gamut of the performing and visual arts and includes film, theatre, musicals, large scale shows, World Expos, dance, music, and architectural design. Glen Goei was the Artistic Director of Mu-Lan Arts in London from 1990 to 1998. It was the first Asian theatre company to be established in the United Kingdom. He is currently the Associate Artistic Director of the Singaporean theatre company, W!LD RICE. Goei's film Forever Fever was the first Singapore film to achieve a worldwide commercial release. The film was distributed in America and the UK by Miramax, which then signed him on an exclusive three-picture deal. In 1994, he received the National Youth Award for his contribution to the arts from Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.
  • Lee Kuan Yew
    From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000, Singapore and the Asian Economic Boom, The Singapore story
    • Birthplace: Singapore
    • Birthdate: 09-16-1923
    • Nationality: Singapore
    Lee Kuan Yew (16 September 1923 – 23 March 2015), commonly referred to by his initials LKY and sometimes referred to in his earlier years as Harry Lee, was the first Prime Minister of Singapore, governing for three decades. Lee is recognised as the nation's founding father, with the country described as transitioning from the "third world country to first world country in a single generation" under his leadership.After attending the London School of Economics, Lee graduated from Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, with double starred-first-class honours in law. He became a barrister of the Middle Temple in 1950, and practised law until 1959. Lee co-founded the People's Action Party (PAP) in 1954 and was its first secretary-general until 1992, leading the party to eight consecutive victories. After Lee chose to step down as Prime Minister in 1990, he served as Senior Minister under his successor Goh Chok Tong until 2004, then as Minister Mentor (an advisory post) until 2011, under his own son Lee Hsien Loong. In total, Lee held successive ministerial positions for 56 years. He continued to serve his Tanjong Pagar constituency for nearly 60 years as a member of parliament until his death in 2015. From 1991, he helmed the five-member Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency and remained unopposed for a record five elections. Lee campaigned for Britain to relinquish its colonial rule, and eventually attained through a national referendum to merge with other former British territories to form Malaysia in 1963. However, racial strife and ideological differences led to its separation to become a sovereign city-state two years later. With overwhelming parliamentary control at every election, Lee oversaw Singapore's transformation from a British crown colony with a natural deep harbour to a developed economy. In the process, he forged a system of meritocratic, highly effective and incorrupt government and civil service. Many of his policies are now taught at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Lee eschewed populist policies in favour of long-term social and economic planning. He championed meritocracy and multiracialism as governing principles, making English the common language to integrate its immigrant society and to facilitate trade with the West, whilst mandating bilingualism in schools to preserve students' mother tongue and ethnic identity. Lee's rule was criticised for curtailing civil liberties (media control and limits on public protests) and bringing libel suits against political opponents. He argued that such disciplinary measures were necessary for political stability which, together with the rule of law, were essential for economic progress, once saying: "Anybody who decides to take me on needs to put on knuckle-dusters. If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try. There is no other way you can govern a Chinese society". He died of pneumonia on 23 March 2015, aged 91. In a week of national mourning, 1.7 million residents and guests paid tribute to him at his lying-in-state at Parliament House and at community tribute sites around the island.